I was doing it all wrong in the beginning: I was trying to mix many different styles because I couldn't decide on one, I had no clear direction, I was buying decor because it was on sale and not because I really loved it...
It was a hot mess.
No wonder our home frustrated me. It didn't reflect our style, but I wasn't sure how to fix it.
I wanted a change. I wanted a sense of direction when decorating so I didn't feel so overwhelmed. I wanted to stop filling my home with useless decor because a magazine said I "needed" it. I wanted to stop putting pressure on myself that our home had to be perfect.
So, I started researching how to find your home decor style and see if I could get down to the root of the issue. Between Googling and my sister introducing me to capsule wardrobes last year (more on that in a bit) , I was able to come up with a structure that worked: only fill my home with things I truly love and need.
Now, let's back up for a second. How did capsule wardrobes help me narrow in on my home decor style? Well, a simple definition of a capsule wardrobe is a mini wardrobe made up of versatile pieces you love to wear. When my sister was explaining it to me, a light bulb went off.
If I fill our home with things I love that work well together and fit with our lifestyle, decorating suddenly seems easy!
That simple mindset shift was just what I needed.
Pulling elements of a capsule wardrobe from Un-Fancy and combining them with my own ideas, I was able to build a system that helped me develop my true signature home decor style and simplify decorating.
As I started on this new mindset, I noticed a sense of contentment. I wasn't constantly looking for more, more, more to add to our home. I was only focusing on incorporating things I love, and that was refreshing.
We've been conditioned to want the newest, biggest, best house with huge vaulted ceilings, and walk-in closets (ahem HGTV). And even though that's pretty cool, you can be happy without the best of the best if you know how to decorate with your signature style and incorporate your favorite elements.
I'm going to share with you my system to finding my home decor style that completely transformed my approach and totally simplified decorating, and how you can too.
I even created a free workbook for you to download and fill out as we go. You'll want to make sure you grab your copy because it makes the next steps soooo much easier.
How to Find Your Home Decor Style
1. How Do you Want your Home to Feel
Your style is more than just how you want your home to look. It's about how you want your home to feel. This may seem dumb, but it's actually SUPER important and that's why it's step number one – so don't skip it! Your answer to how you want your home to feel can dramatically affect what colors (or how much color) you should use in your home.
In your free workbook, I created a little mad lib section that helps you put into words how you want your home to feel.
2. Take Note of your Favorite Pieces
What items in your home make you happy? What items in your home do love? Write it all down in your workbook and give a reason why for each. If you don't have anything, then we've got some work to do!
I can honestly say I love just about everything in our home (except our kitchen because we haven't tackled that yet). This step was one of the biggest contributors in turning my mindset around about our home. Incorporating your favorite pieces suddenly boosts your energy and happiness.
Think about it – if you walked into a room full of your favorite colors, furniture, and decor, how would that make you feel? Now, imagine walking into a room that wasn't your style and had traditional furniture when you like modern styles. You probably wouldn't have the same excited reaction as you did with the first room, right?
3. Look for Inspiration
Now the fun begins! Go to Pinterest and create a board called Dream Home and start searching for pins you ABSOLUTELY love that make you happy and pin them to your new board. The key is only pin images of rooms you would actually want to live in. Emily Henderson is a talented designer who I adore, but her style is quirky and totally mid-century modern so I probably wouldn't want to live in a home decorated like that. That doesn't mean I don't like and appreciate her style, I just wouldn't want to live there as my dream home.
This is where we often get off track and think that because we like a certain style, we suddenly want to start decorating our home like it. This isn't always the case. We can like many different styles, but that doesn't mean they make up your signature home decor style.
Keep pinning to your Dream Home board and be ruthless. If you kind of like a pin but you aren't 100% sold, don't pin it! Every pin must make you burst with happiness that you immediately pin it without question. Try to pin at least 20 pins to your board. You can see my board here as an example.
4. Identify your Style Elements
Let's review quick.
You've asked yourself what you want your home to feel like. You've taken a look around your own home and identified the things you love that make you happy. Then, you browsed Pinterest for inspiration to get an idea of what rooms you would like to live in. Now we need to look for commonalities among steps 1, 2, and 3 and identify your style elements.
It's time to get super detailed. You know in job interviews when they ask what's your weakness, but what they really mean is, "What's your weakness that you turn into a positive?" Mine was always I'm detail-oriented. It's true. I notice every last little thing and obsess over it. It drives me crazy, but it can be helpful at times.
In this step we need to dissect every pin on your dream home board and look at it with a magnifying glass. Why do you like each pin? What do you like about it? Write down every last detail you like about every pin, starting with 1 and going from there. Your list can be one comprehensive list. Each time you come across a duplicate, like, "I love that it's bright and airy", just put a tally next to it to keep track.
Your list could look something like this:
I like the cognac leather chairs.
I like like white sofa.
I like the vintage Turkish rug colors.
I like the soothing feeling in the room.
I like the neutral walls with the bold patterned rug.
I like the gold floor lamp.
I like the rustic beams.
Once you write down everything you like about your pins, you should start to notice common themes between them and your answers for steps 1, 2, and 3. Circle the elements on your list that show up in all the steps or steps 1 and 3 (taking note of the items with multiple tallies). The things you circle are your style elements that make up your signature home decor style.
For example, if you wrote down you want your home to feel relaxing in step 1 and then in step 3 you wrote you listed you like the relaxing vibe, then you should circle that and know that it is an important characteristic for you to focus on in your home.
You can do this by taking items you see in your pins with relaxing vibes, like the neutral color palette and cozy pillows, and apply a similar color palette and pillows in your own home. See how that works?
This method helps you pick types of furniture, paint colors, fabrics, and more, thus making decorating easier because you have direction. If you see certain elements popping up in several pins (which you should), then you can use those same elements in your home to recreate your dream home look that you love.
When looking at my Dream Home board, you can see the pins all share similarities: white walls, clean lines, modern, pops of prints, shades of blue, warm wood accents. These are my style elements that I incorporate into my home to achieve my dream home and it has totally transformed how I decorate.
Remember, the circled items are gold nuggets –these are the elements that make up your home decor style.
This step should help you understand why you like something so you can recreate it in your home. And that, my friend, will lead you to the path of your dream home.
5. Name your Signature Home Decor Style
Now's the easy part. Give your signature home decor style a name. I call my style modern rustic cottage because I like clean, modern designs and a little rustic lake house cottage vibe.
I constantly refer back to my workbook and my Dream Home pin board any time I'm questioning a decision or when I feel like I need to rein it in a little.
It took me a year of experimentation before fully understanding and developing my style. Now I'm comfortable with my home decor style and I love my home because I know how to achieve my dream home look.
What are you struggling with most when it comes to decorating your home? Are there things in your home you don't like that you may be better off eliminating? How many of your style elements can you find in your home right now?
I hope this was helpful for you to really hone in on your style and give you a sense of direction.
Let me know in the comments if you have any questions come up while working through it. I think step 4 is the hardest step so I'm happy to help if you have trouble identifying your elements!
You might find this post helpful: How to create a cohesive color palette for your entire home.